Module Identifier RD17610  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Graham P Harris  
Semester Semester 2  
Course delivery Lecture   22 Hours  
  Practical   12 Hours (4 x 3 hours)  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam1.5 Hours Mid-module test (short answers, multiple choice) Outcomes assessed: 1, 2  40%
Semester Exam1.5 Hours (Short answer, multiple choice)  60%
Supplementary Exam Candidates will be required to re-take the elements(s) of assessment that led to failure of the module  100%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
Outcome 1
Describe aspects of plant structure, plant reproductive strategies and plant physiology relevant to crop production systems.
Performance criteria:
a) Plant structure and its adaptation to function is described.
b) Plant reproductive strategies are examined.
c) The factors affecting seed germination are explained.
d) Basic plant physiological processes are described.
Plant structure: roots, stems, leaves, flowers and seed.
Plant reproductive strategies, sexual, asexual, self-, cross-, insect-, wind-pollination.
Seed germination: epigeal, hypogeal, biotic factors, abiotic factors.
Plant physiological processes: photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, translocation.

Outcome 2
Describe aspects of plant growth, crop productivity and crop breeding relevant to crop production systems on a UK, European and world scale.
Performance criteria:
a) Methods of plant growth/development and crop productivity/yield assessment are identified.
b) The factors controlling plant growth and crop production are identified.
c) Crop breeding techniques are described.
d) The implications of world population increases on crop productivity and the concept of sustainable agriculture are appreciated.
Assessing growth and productivity: crop development stages, fresh mass, dry matter, absolute growth rate, relative growth rate, net assimilation rate, harvestable yield.
Plant growth: genetic and chemical control, environmental influences.
Crop breeding techniques: introduction, hybridization, selection, plant biotechnology.
Implication of world population: Nations at risk, increasing developing nations'' crop production, green revolution and problems, sustainable agriculture.

Outcome 3
A knowledge of the importance of microorganisms in the environment, with specific reference to their role in agricultural systems, is demonstrated.
Performance criteria:
a) The types of microorganisms in the environment are identified.
b) The importance and role of microorganisms in agricultural processes is evaluated.
c) The importance of microorganisms in biotechnological processes is appreciated.
Types of microorganisms:- viruses, bacteria, mycoplasmas, fungi, algae, protozoa.
Agricultural processes:- silage, rumen, animal disease, food spoilage, food processing.
Biotechnological processes: genetic engineering, use in food production, biological control of crop pathogens, pests and weeds.

Outcome 4
Examine the principles of crop protection and integrated control measures.
Performance criteria:
a)   The major areas of crop protection are identified.
b)   The types of microorganisms, pests and weeds causing problems in crop husbandry are identified.
c)   The types of disease, pest and weed control measures are described.
d)   The effects of crop protection control measures on organisms and the environment are described and appreciated.
Major areas of crop protection: diseases, pests, weeds.
Types of microorganisms, pests and weeds: fungi, bacteria, mycoplasmas, viruses, insects, nematodes, slugs, annual weeds, perennial weeds.
Types of control measures: cultural, biological, genetic resistance, chemical, legislation, managed, integrated.
Effects of control measures: resistance to chemicals, disruption of food chains/webs, species diversity.

Brief description

A basic understanding of scientific principles and their application is essential to enable the efficient functioning of modern agricultural systems, and their modification in the light of the findings of agricultural and biological research. In agriculture, scientific information is required from diverse areas of biological sciences. This module aims to outline the scientific principles and concepts underlying the practical application of crop husbandry techniques in modern agricultural production systems.

Transferable skills

.4 Writing in an academic context
   Assessed via the module tests

.7 Self management
   Assessed via revision/planning for module tests

Reading Lists

Allen D and Williams G (1997) Food, farming and environment Collins Advanced Modular Series
Barnes C and Poore N (1994) Plant science in action. Focus on Biology Hodder and Stoughton
Freeland P (1999) Microbes, medicine and commerce Hodder Advanced Science
Gregory J (1995) Applications of genetics Cambridge Modular Sciences
Jones M and Gregory J (1995) Central concepts in biology Cambridge Modular Sciences
Parry D W (1990) Plant pathology in agriculture Cambridge University Press
Taylor D J et al (1997) Biological sciences 1 and 2 3rd. Cambridge University Press


This module is at CQFW Level 4